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Baby & Kids Expo 2011: Show Highlights
One thing’s for sure – right now, Tokyo is hot. And it’s not just the muggy monsoonal weather that’s turning up the temperature. The Baby & Kids Expo was boiling over with high-calibre products from both well-known and up-an-coming brands. Here are five of our favourites for Tuesday:
We saw some fantastic construction toys at the Expo – this one particularly caught our eye. Designed and produced in Holland, Triqo’s simple triangular design is made from sturdy, fully recyclable material, with simple pop and click connectors on all three sides that lets kids create increasingly complex forms. It comes in 10 colours, with top-up packs in sets of ten. It’s all free-form, but Triqo fans can access a website with construction manuals and share ideas.
You don’t get much more dedicated to quality kids’ toys than Hape founder Peter Handstein. Showing us around the Hape stand, he talked about how the ideas for Hape’s unique bamboo toys – like the cool Organeco Blocks and the Shape Puzzles – come from month-long workshops he hosts every year in a Chinese bamboo forest with students and professors from universities around the world, including MIT and Tel Aviv.
Caring for the environment is central to Hape’s vision and you’ll see the results in their beautifully constructed Doll’s House, which has its own solar-paneled roof to power the lights plus a fully functioning greenhouse. And we can’t wrap up this brand without a special mention of the stylish new bamboo Mini Vehicles – these delicious colours and nifty designs guarantee they’ll speed out the door fast.
C. Kanten Clay Studio
Playdough schmaydough. The Kanten Clay Studio gets our vote for favourite sculptural stuff. Made from seaweed, it’s less smelly, less allergic, more elastic and more malleable than traditional dough. Plus it holds its shape better. When you want to reuse it, simply wrap it in a moist towel. You can buy a whole tub or individual tubs in fun colours.
D. Aden + Anais
Bamboo was the star of the expo – and not just when it comes to toys. Groovy baby label Aden + Anais showcased its latest range of beautifully soft bamboo wraps in winning designs. Also worth a mention – the clever new burpy bib design – a two-in-one cloth for feeding and burping bub in stylish comfort.
Eco-friendly company Erzi displayed its deliciously detailed wooden play food. Lovingly made using water-based paints, they’re just perfect for budding greengrocers, chefs and tea party hosts. They feel good to handle, and because they’re made from wood rather than plastic, individual pieces have a different weight and mass. On a more serious note, they’re a great way to teach about colours, shapes and the names of vegetables and fruit.